(SPOILER ALERT: If you are one of the grandparents of the Not So Little One, please stop reading now, lest you spoil your Christmas surprise.)
While creating this year’s holiday photo books for the Not So Little One’s grandparents (Mom, Dad, I told you to stop reading!), I realized something; as I was carefully sorting images from the past 11 or so months – photos of her hiking, climbing, exploring, and breaking a board in her TaeKwonDo class like a BOSS, I noticed it.
So many of the snapshots of my gorgeous and growing girl are taken from behind. Sure, there are plenty of posed smiles, and spontaneous laughter captured in the moment, digital records for the ensuing decades.
But the real record of my girl in action is one that I am now seeing from the backseat.
I have the pictures to prove it.
That’s the realization.
That as she grows and strives and becomes more and more herself everyday, her momentum is forward, moving at what sometimes seems like the speed of light, into her life, and – in many ways– away from me.
Surely this is the way of nature. And yet, seeing the high-resolution manifestation of this truth laid out before me, well, it got me a little choked up.
It’s striking, really, all of those photos of her forward movement, gathered together. She gazes ahead, finding new trees to climb, new oceans to cross, new challenges to meet. And I find myself – as all mothers do, surely – gazing after her. Guiding yes, but more and more often now from behind.
Today, though, I had a front row seat opportunity to see her in all her 8-year-old glory, forging ahead. Thanks to her wonderful aunt, who also happens to be a children’s librarian, my girl had the chance to participate in a Writers’ Workshop, complete with real, published authors and an appearance by the latest American Girl Doll in the flesh, Samantha.
My Not So Little One was asked to write a book recommendation to share with the audience. And I had the chance to watch her do it, with a full view of her brave and beautiful face. Back straight and eyes shining, she told the group about the book she chose. She was poised and articulate, and it was so precious to see it all happen from that vantage point -- one where I could watch her smile and succeed as she moved forward.
And happily, I have the pictures to prove it.